5 Personal Representative Duties
People making a will should select a personal representative they can trust. They should choose someone who is responsible. An executor should be able to work with an attorney. The executor should understand how to work with legal documents. Understanding the value of money counts. Good estate planning requires considering these key personal representative duties:
1. Personal representative duties include hiring an estate lawyer
If chosen or appointed, the executor or administrator should employ an experienced probate and estate attorney. A representative must follow the state laws. He acts on the best interests of the devisees and heirs. She has to properly account for all the decedent’s assets. The lawyer can help the personal representative contact other appraisers and tax accountants. Additionally, the lawyer makes sure the laws are followed. Also, a good lawyer works with other lawyers. If hired, an appraiser works to place a fair market value on assets. For example, valuable assets include the family business, the home, and jewelry.
2. Get the death certificate
The personal representative duties include obtaining the proceeds of life insurance. It’s needed to probate the will. Additionally, final income tax returns also require death certificates. The death certificate includes the name, date of death, and also the cause of death.
3. Obtain the will and any trust documents
Ideally, the decedent informed the personal representative where the original will and trust are. An experienced Florida probate lawyer anticipates the five things a personal representative does. So, this anticipation includes steps to make the representative’s job easier. Normally, the decedent keeps wills and trusts in a safe place such as a bank safety deposit box. Typically, the original will determines the appointment of the personal representative. Importantly, the will controls how the distribution of assets. Some trusts become active only when the deceased dies. For example, a pour-over trust pours the decedent’s assets into a trust for the spouse. Additionally, trusts may even mean that probate is not required.
4. Obtain “letters testamentary”
These are the formal court documents that confirm the appointment of the personal representative. So, these documents confirm your legal authority to first, open estate bank accounts. You can then:
- Take possession of assets
- File an accounting
- Arrange for a legal transfer of the asset to the rightful beneficiary
- Sell the asset and place the proceeds in the estate bank account
- Pay creditors
- Work with the beneficiaries
Finally, the personal representative distributes the assets
Normally, the decedent leaves instructions about his/her assets. Family members and beneficiaries should have some knowledge of what items the decedent owned. Also, business partners and employees or business accountants should have information about business interests.
5. Pay the taxes and pay creditors
Generally, Florida does not have inheritance or estate taxes. he estate must pay any federal estate tax that is due.
The personal representative pays the secured creditors and non-secured creditors. Also, bills are usually categorized by whether they are pre-death or post-death bills.
Other personal representative duties include the following:
- Preparing an inventory of the assets and their value
- Publishing the creditor’s notice to alert them about the decedent’s death
- Notifying all interested parties about their right to object to any claims or to the proposed distribution
- Finally, formally closing the estate